Two British Pakistanis in UK’s billionaires club

LONDON: Two Pakistani-origin businessmen are among the British nationals with net worth of one billion pounds, according to Sunday Times rich list 2018.

Gujar Khan-born Sir Anwar Pervez is the first Pakistan-born British national on the list with a net worth of 3.09 billion pounds. Although the fortunes of Sir Pervez rose by £145 million during the year, his rank on the Sunday Times list fell from 40th to 43rd.

On the list, British chemical tycoon Jim Ratcliffe is at the top with a net worth of over 21 billion pounds.

The rise of Sir Anwar Pervez is considered among the most inspiring rags-to-riches stories in the UK. After arriving in the UK at the age of 21 and settling down in Bradford, he like many other economic migrants did some menial jobs. Later, he set up a convenience store in west London with his savings. In 1976, he set up a warehouse in Acton area of west London along with three other friends and relatives with very small seed money. The company then named Bestway now stands as a strong business group with stakes from cash-and-carry to pharmacy. The Bestway Group now trades from more than 60 warehouses under its own name and the Batleys brand, which it acquired, enjoying an 18 per cent market share in the grocery wholesale sector, where it supplies to about 100,000 retailers.

After restricting itself within cash and carry sector under its own brand for a long time, Bestway Group has lately started expanding. In April this year it bought Bargain Booze, Britain’s largest off-licence chain with 611 shops, for £7m. It had already acquired the Co-operative, Britain’s third largest chain of chemist shops and running it as the Well Pharmacy group. In Pakistan, it launched Bestway Cement, which in 23 years has become the country’s second-largest producer, with significant exports to Afghanistan.

Bestway Group has a controlling share of United Bank Limited. There are subsidiaries in the UK, the Middle East and Switzerland.

The family of Zameer Chaudrey, the chief executive and co-founder of the Bestway Group and a nephew of Sir Anwar Pervez, is the second British Pakistani on the list with a net worth of £1.2 billion.

Other notable Pakistan-born British nationals on Sunday Times rich list are Abdul Khalique Bhatti and Adalat Chaudhry, who were also co-founders of the Bestway Group with Sir Anwar Pervez with net worth of £540 million each.

Younus Sheikh, a non-executive member of the Bestway board, is also on the rich list with a net fortune of £420 million.

Glasgow-based businessman Tarak Ramzan is another Pakistani-born personality on the Sunday Times rich list with a net fortune of 166 million pounds. Ramzan was said to be just 18 when he was handed the keys of his father’s modest Glasgow clothing factory after the old man decided to retire to his native Pakistan. His father had arrived in Scotland in 1947 with £5 in his pocket.

Ramzan began building clothes manufacturing business to employ about 200 staff at the peak, before switching to retail and opening his first Quiz store in Glasgow in 1994. In 2009, part of the operation collapsed into administration but Ramzan bought back many of the stores and today the Quiz empire spans 19 countries.

The Goldsmith family of Jemima Khan, the ex-wife of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, is also on the list with a net worth of £283 million.

According to Sunday Times, Zac Goldsmith, Lady Annabel Goldsmith and family inherited a quarter of Sir James Goldsmith’s wealth that stood at £1.2 billion when he died in 1997.

Another important name on the rich list is that of the former Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, whose letter was produced by former premier Nawaz Sharif in his defence before the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case. With a net worth of £2 billion, Al Thani ranked at 66th on the list. Sandhurst-educated Al Thani, 58, is said to be the chief executive of the Qatar Investment Authority, managing billions of dollars for the Gulf state, where he served as prime minister from 2007 to 2013.

There are many Indian-origin businessmen on the rich list. Lakshmi Mittal is fifth on the list with a net worth of 14.6 billion pounds. Sr Prakash Lohia, an industrialist with stakes in Textile and Plastics and brother-in-law of Lakshmi Mittal, is 25th on the rich list with a net worth of 5.1 billion pounds.

Although the net fortune of Saudi national Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber fell by 16 million pounds during the course of the year, he still stands tall on the Sunday Times rich list with a net worth of 6.7 billion pounds.

Egyptian-born businessman Mohammed Al Fayed maintained his 79th position on the list with a net fortune of 1.7 billion pounds.

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